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Part III: Gas-Electric Motor Bus Co.; American Motor Bus Co.
Gas-Electric Motorbus Co., Roland Gas-Electric Vehicle Co., New York Motor Bus Co., National Motor Bus Corp., New York, New York; Gas-Electric Motorbus Co., American Motor Coach Co., American Motor Bus Co.
Associated Builders
National Motor Bus Corp., American Motor Bus Mfg. Co., Chicago Motor Coach Corp., Chicago Motor Bus Co., Chicago, Illinois; Yellow Truck & Coach

Continued from Page 2

July 1, 1920 New York Times:

“I.R.T. FUNDS FOR BUS LINES.; $1,000,000 Suit Says Shonts Violated Franchise Agreement.

“Papers showing that Theodore P. Shonts was defendant in a suit for $1,000,000 in Nassau County when he died were filed in court yesterday by the Guaranty Trust Company, temporary administrator, in connection with the application of Mrs. Shonts for $100,000 under her husband’s will.

“The suit against Shonts was brought by Roland R. Conklin. He alleges that Shonts had an agreement with him covering franchises for buses of the New York Motor Bus Company and of the Chicago Motor Bus Company, and that in violation of the agreement Shonts formed the Fifth Avenue Coach Corporation in New York and the Chicago Stage Company with the funds of the Interborough.”

From The Modern Motor Truck by Victor Wilfred Page, pub 1921:

“A motor bus with a covered upper deck has made its appearance in Chicago as a part of the fleet of the Chicago Motor Bus Co. It is shown in Fig. 32, C, and differs radically in construction from the New York or Paris types of bus. The description which follows is taken from "Automotive Industries." Mechanically, it is the same as those that have been operated there for the past three years. Like the older type, it has the front wheel drive, the floor on a level with the curbing for convenience and speed in taking on and off passengers, and the covered straight stairway that is safer than the winding and exposed one. The difference lies in the covered top with glass windows in the sides, and in the seating capacity. Whereas the older type of vehicle would accommodate 51 passengers with seats, the new bus seats 60. Instead of the 22 enclosed downstairs seats in the old style bus, there are 60 enclosed and protected seats, 24 below and 36 above.

“The length of the car is 25 feet, the width 7 feet 6 inches, and the height from roadway when unloaded, 12 feet 11 inches, and 12 feet 8 inches when filled. The wheel base is 176 inches, height of the lower deck from the roadway being 12½ inches. Both decks are lighted electrically by current from a generator driven by the engine. The vehicle is heated by exhaust gases from the engine, which pass through pipes placed near the floor in the lower interior of the car. The front tires are 6-inch singles, while those in the rear of the same size are duals. The power unit is the American Motor Bus Company standard type of front wheel drive, made detachable and with a constant mesh transmission. The worm drive also is used. The brakes act on the rear wheels and have approximately 500 square inches of braking surface. However, the salient feature of the new bus is the roof over the upper deck. This cover is light and is not too high to easily clear elevated structures and trolleys under which it must pass. Because of the low level of the upper deck the center of gravity in relation to the roadway is low, thus minimizing unpleasant swaying.

“The front wheel drive and low hung body make the stepless feature possible. It allows the passenger to enter or leave the bus directly from the surface of the sidewalk. The only steps in the vehicle are those leading to the upper deck. They are straight and enclosed.”

Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, February 1921 issue:

“American Motor Bus Corporation

“Harold Almert, M. W. S. E., Consulting Engineer, has recently submitted a report on the American Motor Bus Corporation and the Chicago Motor Bus Company, and the business of the two concerns has been taken over by The Lake Shore Motor Bus Corporation, a holding company.

“The American Motor Bus Corporation, the manufacturing concern, has resumed the manufacture of front wheel drive, stepless type, motor busses and are bringing out a new double deck bus with a seating capacity of sixty passengers, with both upper and lower decks fully enclosed. The initial order will keep the factory operating at full capacity for the year 1921.

“The Chicago Motor Bus Company, which operates a fleet of motor busses over the boulevards of the north side of Chicago, serving a territory which cannot be reached by the surface and elevated railways, has obtained an amendment to its franchise permitting the operation of the new enclosed top bus and will increase its service on the north side and shortly start operation on the south side, together with through routes between the north and south sides.”

March 5, 1921 Public Works:

“The Lake Shore Motor Bus Corporation, a holding company, has taken over the business of the American Motor Bus Corporation and the Chicago Motor Bus Company.”

Prospectus for Lake Shore Motor Bus Corp. in 1922 Fitch Bond Book:


“1st & Coll. Tr. S. F. 8s. Due Dec. 1, 1935.
Dated Dec. 1, 1920. Interest payable June 1 and Dec. 1, at Central Trust Co., of Chicago. Illinois.
Tax Status—2% Federal Income Tax paid by the company without deduction.
Authorized $1,500,000; Outstanding $750,000; Reserved for Corp. Purposes $750,000
Purpose of Issue—Issued In connection with the acquisition of the securities and properties by the lien of this mortgage
Denominations—Coupon $100, $500 and $1,000.
Trustee—Central Trust Co. of Chicago Illinois.
Redeemable at 102½ and interest on any interest date upon 30 days' notice.
Sinking Fund—Annually beginning 1923 within B0 days after the date on which Its fiscal year ends, a sum equal to 25% of the Company's not earnings after deducting Interest charges and taxes for such year. The sinking fund payment shall be determined by an audit of the Company's affairs, made by a certified accountant selected or approved by the trustee. This fund is to be applied to the purchase or redemption of this issue at not over 102½ and interest. Bonds so acquired to be cancelled.

“Organization—Organized In 1921 to acquire all of the stock of the Chicago Motor Bus Co. all of the property or stock of the American Motor Bus Corp.

“Capitalization Outstanding: Common $750,000; Funded debt $750,000

“Secured by pledge of all of the stock (except qualifying shares) of the Chicago Motor Bus Co. - and by a mortgage on the fixed property of, or all of the stock (except qualifying shares) of the American Motor Bus Corp. free of any lien on the properties and equipment (unless such lien or liens are deposited with the trustee) and by a first mortgage on all real estate owned or to be acquired by the Lake Shore Motor Bus Corp.

“The Chicago Motor Bus Co. owns and operates 40 buses In Chicago.

“In June 1916 the Chicago Motor Bus Company was granted a franchise for a term of 20 years by the Commissioners of Lincoln Park, to operate its buses upon certain of the boulevards, parkways and streets of the North Side of Chicago; and In April, 1917. It received a Certificate of Necessity and Convenience from the State Public Utilities Commission governing these routes.

“In March, 1917, it secured from the South Park Commissioners a franchise for a term of 20 years, to operate its buses upon certain of the boulevards, parkways and streets of the South Side. As provided in these franchises. It has deposited $25,000 both with the Lincoln Park and South Park Commissioners.

The American Motor Bus Co. builds the cars for the Chicago Motor Bus Co.

“The Company and its subsidiaries own two modern, fire-proof buildings, the garage on Broadway, and the Operating Department on Rosemont Avenue, and have arranged to acquire a site for a new terminal on Clark Street near Wilson Avenue.

“With the completion of the present financing (as of March, 1921), there will be available a fleet of 57 buses, including 26 of the Sixty-Passenger All-Year Type, the latest development of the Motor Bus Industry.

Year ended Dec. 31: Gross. Net.
1921 $792,060 $182,686

“Original Market — $750,000 offered Feb., 1921, by The Stanwood Co., Chicago.”

January 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Inclosed upper deck improves earning capacity in inclement and cold weather. Seats sixty with weight of only 192 lb. per seat. Company operates 1,600,000 bus-miles a year and hauls 7,500,000 passengers.; Details of Equipment and Cost of Operation of Double-Deck Buses in Chicago

“HAVING been lifted from the receivership and reorganized with the Lake Shore Motor Bus Corporation as a holding company, the Chicago Motor Bus Company, which operates fifty-one buses over the north shore drives between the Loop and Devon Avenue, has purchased twenty-five buses of a new type from the American Motor Bus Corporation. The latter is the bus manufacturing subsidiary of the same holding company. One bus of this new type was in experimental use for about a year before it was decided to adopt this design. It proved to be much better as a revenue producer than the older open-top buses and hence the new buses of this type were purchased this year. Ten of these are now in service and others are being built.

“A comparison of the earnings of the experimental bus of this type with the average earnings of the three leading and three following buses of the open-top type is given in an accompanying table. In earnings per mile the inclosed-top averaged 16.84 per cent better than the open-top buses; the gain was 1.26 cents for the closed-top, in earnings per seat-mile.

“The features of the new bus are its large seating capacity, inclosed upper deck and low weight per seat. It seats twenty-six passengers on the lower deck and thirty-four on the upper deck, making a total of sixty. Its total scale weight is 11,500 lb., including 240 lb. of gasoline, or a gross weight of 192 lb. per seat. About 7,500 lb. of this is in the chassis and 4,000 lb. in the body.

“With this new type of bus, the tractor type of power plant used heretofore and having the entire driving mechanism mounted on the front axle is continued. It is only by virtue of this design that the inclosed upper deck could be built within the limits of headroom imposed. The engine used is a 35hp. Moline-Knight manufactured by the R. & V. Motor Company, Moline, Ill. The height of this bus from road to top of roof is 13 ft. It is 25 ft. 6 in. long over all, has a 14-ft. 6 3/16-in. wheelbase and an overhang at the rear of 7 ft. 9 in.

“The width over all is 7 ft. 6 in. at the rear, tapering for appearance to 7 ft. at the front. The arrangement of seats and other details are shown in the accompanying drawings. The headroom required for the driver is secured by a box in the floor of the upper deck, over which the center seats at the front end are placed so that practically no space is lost as the result of this allowance for the driver.

“The great advantage of the inclosed upper deck bus is obviously the fact that in rainy and cold weather the capacity of the bus is the same as it is in pleasant weather. That this is true is clearly reflected in the comparative figures presented here. The desirability for large seating capacity lies in the fact that the traffic handled is largely longhaul, with comparatively few stops per mile. Thus far, the limit of riding has been the limit of bus capacity, and on account of the long haul and infrequent stops, therefore, it is more economical to handle the people in larger units.

“The first type of bus built for the Chicago Motor Bus Company seated thirty-eight people and weighed 16,800 lb. empty. The next type seated thirty-eight people and weighed 12,600 lb. The third design seated thirty-nine and weighed 10,500 lb., while the more recently built open-top buses seat fifty-two people and weigh 11,000 lb.

"In addition to the sixty-seat inclosed upper-deck buses now being built, an experimental bus of an entirely different design is under construction. This is to be a bus with conventional rear-axle drive, which makes necessary an open-top body. The new body, however, is expected to seat sixty-eight people with a weight of about 175 lb. per seat, the maximum allowable total weight being 12,500 lb. The floor will be 29 in. above the pavement when the bus is empty. In trying out this type, the company is not necessarily abandoning the idea of the inclosed upper deck, but is determining whether the added capacity of this open-type bus will offset the loss of traffic in bad weather, in comparison with the showing of the closed-top bus. If this new large-capacity open-top bus compares favorably in earning capacity with the new closed-top bus, there will probably be a tendency to revert to the rear-drive bus on account of its simpler maintenance. Still another design of bus has been made in anticipation of a permit to operate a short-haul bus line in Chicago. The petition for this permit specifies a line running south from Fullerton Avenue on Lincoln Parkway and Clark Street along the west side of Lincoln Park, over North Avenue to Lake Shore Drive and thence downtown, with alternate buses running to the Northwestern and Union depots on the West Side, and to the Illinois Central depot at Twelfth Street and Michigan Avenue. This line is expected to carry many short riders to and from the rapidly growing Upper Michigan Avenue district which lies just north of the river. The bus designed for this service is a single-deck, one-man type. The general appearance and seating arrangement are shown in the accompany drawings. The seating capacity is thirty and the weight will run about 7,200 lb. A particular feature is the 15-in. step from pavement to bus floor. This is made possible by raising the floor over the rear axle 10 in. The five rear seats are thus elevated 10 in. above the forward eight seats. This bus will also have a rear-axle drive.

“C.O. Ball, general manager and chief engineer, American Motor Bus Corporation, is responsible for the designs of bus being utilized by the Chicago Motor Bus Company, of which W. J. Sherwood is general superintendent in charge of operation. The two companies are headed by H. H. Jackson, president.

“Construction Details Of Inclosed Top Bus

“The body of the inclosed upperdeck bus pictured here is made entirely of elm wood, except for the steel underframe and the No. 16 gage aluminum side sheathing, which has some gusset effect. The earlier buses were built without underframes, and the results were not satisfactory. The new bus bodies are therefore mounted on an underframe consisting of two 6-in., 10 1/2-lb. channels extending the full length of the body with an upward bend to clear the rear axle and tied together with 6-in. 8-lb. channel iron crossmembers. These longitudinal channels are reinforced at the front end by an outer pressing of 6 3/4 x 3 x 3/16-in. steel, and by an inner pressing of 5 x 2 x 7/16-in. steel, running back to the front hanger of the rear spring. Cross sills of 3 x 4-in. wood, spaced at the same distance as the side posts, are clamped to the underframe by U-bolts and a steel strap over the top of the sill, no bolts or holes of any kind passing through the sills. A 2 x 2 1/2-in. longitudinal sill, or base rail, is laid on top of the main cross-sills and the flooring on the lower deck is fastened up to the base rail and down onto filler pieces inserted between the cross-sills, the 5/8 x 4-in. tongue and grooved pine or fir floor boards running crosswise. The side posts are then doweled into the base rail at 25-in. centers.

“Particular attention is directed to the dimensioning of the side posts, a detail drawing of which is reproduced. These side posts must not only support the superstructure, but must carry a live load on the upper deck of 5,000 lb. or more. The posts seem to have a light section, yet despite this, the bus company claims that the maintenance cost on these bodies has been very low.

“The strength in this design is derived from the box-like construction into which the longitudinal members are mortised. These are joined with the side posts, so that the maximum unsupported length of the side posts is 19 3/4 in., which is at the lower window level. The first tie between posts above the floor is the 7/8 x 7-in. seat panelboard which is halved into the posts and runs the full length of the body. A 3 x 5-in. board at the same level is screwed to the posts on the inside to form the seat support, this also tying the posts together. The belt rail, consisting of a 3 1/2 x 2-in. wood member, is cut out around the posts and securely fastened to them. The posts are again tied together and supported by the 5/8 x 1 3/4-in. lower rail of the upper sash, and by the 7/8 x 5 3/8-in. upper sideboard.

The carlines or cross-members which brace the upper deck are slightly arched, and both the posts and carlines are halved and the latter laid on top of the posts. The main carlines at the post are made 1 7/8 in. deep by 1 1/4-in. wide, while intermediate carlines, 1 1/8 x 7/8-in., are provided. The main carlines are braced at each post by a supporting piece at a point 15 in. from the side post, reducing the length of the unsupported arch by 30 in. and thus enabling the use of the light section in the carlines. A layer of 3/8-in. Haskelite is laid on the carlines and screwed and glued to them. The floor strips for the upper deck are then laid directly on the Haskelite and screwed to the Haskelite and to each of the carlines, a templet being used to locate the screws so that they do not foul against the screws holding the Haskelite to the carlines.

“The upper side posts are made of 2 x 1 7/8-in. section, doweled into the base rail extending along the side of the body over the top of the lower posts. These upper parts are supported with longitudinal ties similar to the box construction described for the lower posts. The upper carlines forming the arched roof measure 1 1/8 x 7/8-in. The roof laid on top of these consists of 3/8-in. Agasote, which is put on in two pieces and painted, but no canvas is used. The edges of the roof are rounded off by using aluminum plates and steel corners. The aluminum used in the roof is largely made up from scraps from the side sheathing.

“The windows in the upper deck drop, while those for the lower deck raise. No catches and no handles are provided on the windows. They are simply fitted with Edwards antirattlers at the top and bottom of each side, and then gaps are left in the side guards. The anti-rattlers snap into these gaps as the window is moved, hold it at any one of three levels and at the same time prevent rattling. A piece across the top of the upper windows serves as a good arm rest when the window is lowered and makes a good handle to lift the window.

“One of the most interesting features of the bus, from the standpoint of light weight, is that the seat complete weighs only 8 lb. These are stationary seats made with 7/8-in. frame and 3/8-in. slats. The two side frames and center frame, or legs, are screwed and glued together and the slats screwed to them, this work being done entirely at the manufacturing plant of the American Motor Bus Corporation.

“Cost Of Operation

“The accompanying operating statements of the Chicago Motor Bus Company are of particular interest inasmuch as the figures for revenue and expenses cover a business nearly five years old and now involving a mileage of more than 1,500,000 a year and an annual haul of more than 7,500,000 passengers. An accumulative statement made out in considerable detail covering the operations of the company from its beginning, March 25, 1917, to Oct. 31, 1921, shows how the various detail cost figures will run when averaged over a long period with fluctuating markets and labor costs and varying operating conditions. Another statement for the twelve-month period ending Oct. 31, 1921, gives a good idea of the present operating details. Of course it must be remembered that these figures cover the operation of large double-deck buses and that neither the earnings nor operating costs can be compared with single-deck bus operation.

“Operations of the Chicago Motor Bus Company, begun in March, 1917, and continued to date, have undoubtedly contributed materially to the rapid growth and development of uptown Chicago, the Wilson Avenue district on the North Side, and the intervening territory served. This transportation has also been a factor in the remarkable improvement of the upper Michigan Avenue district just north of the Chicago River, for this is the only regular transportation available in this section. But like many new transportation agencies, the Chicago Motor Bus Company has had to await development of the business through several years to bring it to a financially successful enterprise. The double-deck, fifty-one and sixty-seat, two-man buses used are operated from the Loop northward over Michigan Avenue and the North Side lake shore boulevard. Some of the buses are run through Devon Avenue, a one-way trip of 9.5 miles. Others are turned back at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, 7.9 miles; at Wilson Avenue and Clark Street, 7.6 miles; and at Wilson and Sheridan, 7 miles. A few trips are also turned back short of these points. The headway maintained from the Loop varies from seven and one-half minutes to two minutes. The rate of fare from the beginning has been 10 cents flat.

“Owing to its early financial difficulties, the company has been unable to expand its facilities as rapidly as the growth in its business would have warranted, and the amount of business handled has been for the most part limited, therefore, in the last two years, only by the capacity of the buses. The increasing use of these transportation facilities is illustrated by the accompanying graph of passengers per month since the beginning, and by the table showing the increase in per cent of the total seating capacity sold—an increase that is marked despite increased service both as to number of buses and seating capacity. The passenger earnings per bus-mile have increased from 30.46 cents in 1917, which was less than the operating cost, to 48.42 cents for the first ten months of 1921. This latter figure will come down slightly when the months of November and December are included, so that the revenue for the full calendar year of 1921 will be about 48 cents per busmile. For the twelve months ended Oct. 31, 1921, the passenger revenue was 47.02 cents per bus-mile, with miscellaneous revenue bringing the total up to 47.94 cents. Against this, the company in the same period had to pay operating costs, taxes, and fixed charges of 41.68 cents, leaving a profit of 6.2 cents per busmile available for dividends.

“It will be noted that this net income is considerably better than the average to date covering the total period of operation, which shows a net income of only 1.47 cents per bus-mile. From this same accumulative statement, it is seen that the passenger's 10-cent fare is distributed 3.41 cents for maintenance and depreciation, 1.03 cents for gasoline, 3.41 cents for conducting transportation, 1.08 cents for general and miscellaneous, and 0.70 cents for taxes and income deductions, leaving a net income available for paying dividends of 0.37 cent per fare collected.

“An earning capacity even better than the 6.25 cents per bus-mile realized during the twelve months ended Oct. 31, 1921, is expected in the future as the magnitude of the business increases and the more efficient maintenance program and rehabilitation now under way becomes completely effective. That improvement along this line is being made is evidenced by the fact that maintenance of equipment in November, 1920, cost 12.14 cents per bus-mile, while in November, 1921, it cost only 7.99 cents. Similarly the number of road failures has been reduced from an average of eight a day up to April, 1921, to one a day at present. Important items contributing to this improvement are the substitution of 16-in. diameter Borg & Beck clutches for 12-in. clutches, certain changes in the gear box worked out by the company and also adopted by the manufacturers, exchange of the cast iron hub caps, through which the power is transmitted to the axle in the tractor-type power units used, to cast-steel caps, etc.

“With the overhaul completed on the remaining fifteen buses, the road failures and maintenance costs are expected to be still further reduced. Thirty-five of the fifty driving units had been rebuilt at the time of this writing. In the future each bus will be given a thorough inspection every 2,000 miles, a partial overhaul semiannually, and a complete overhaul once a year. The last will include new pistons and sleeves for the Knight engines, as this is said to make them practically as good as new again. For this reason, and because they believe the Knight engine operates with more uniform efficiency than poppet valve engines, the management of the Chicago Motor Bus Company is strong for this type of power plant. The power units now in use are the same ones purchased in 1917, except for the improvements that have been incorporated.

“It will be seen from the accumulative statement that engine maintenance and body maintenance have run about equal—just about 1 cent per mile each. The item of 3.71 cents per mile for repairs to running gear, which includes the maintenance of the transmission and driving mechanism, clutch, brakes, etc., is high, and it is expected that the improvements already mentioned that are under way will have a very desirable effect on this cost item. Lubrication costs, which have averaged 0.54 cent per bus-mile, are being substantially reduced also; for example, the cost for lubrication in October, 1921, was 0.32 cent per mile. The single item of fuel runs just about 4 cents per bus-mile, and tires a little more than 2 cents a mile. Solid tires are used altogether.

“The average accumulative figure for the total cost of conducting transportation is 13.52 cents per bus-mile, of which 9.88 cents is for wages of drivers and conductors. For the twelve months ended Oct. 31 the total cost of conducting transportation was 14.81 cents per bus-mile and approximately 11 cents of this was for busmen's wages. The present scale is 65 cents an hour maximum.”


  Round Trips Average Seats Per Round Trip Per Cent of Seating Capacity Used Passengers per Bus-Mile
1918 74,714 102 56.34 3.238
1919 79,994 102 69.99 4.091
1920 78,708 103 74.99 4.423
1921* 91,187 106.5 78.30 4.842
*Eleven months.


Gross Earnings      
    Actual Bus-Mile (in cents)
Transportation revenue $ 755,230 47.02
Special bus revenue $ 577 0.04
Advertising revenue   10,595 0.66
Total operating revenue $ 766,402 47.72
Non-operating revenue $ 3,539 0.22
Total revenue $ 769,941 47.94
Operating Expenses      
Maintenance of way and structures $ 3,168 00.20
Maintenance of equipment $ 164,703 10.26
Depreciation reserve $ 51,339 3.20
Gasoline expense $ 63,688 3.97
Conducting transportation $ 237,974 14.81
General and miscellaneous expenses $ 87,188 5.42
Total operating expenses $ 608,060 37.86
Net earnings $ 161,881 10.08
Fixed charges      
Taxes $ 38,999 2.43
Interest on funded debt $ 2,480 0.16
Interest on unfunded debt $ 19,797 1.23
Total fixed charges $ 61,276 3.82
Net income $ 100,605 6.26
Revenue bus-miles $ 1,606,078  


    Actual per bus-mile (in cents) per passenger carried (in cents)
Maintenance of way and structures $ 9,060 0.13 0.03
Maintenance of equipment        
Superintendence $ 43,513 0.64  
Repairs to bodies $ 65,713 0.97  
Repairs to running gear $ 251,842 3.71  
Repairs to engines $ 65,108 0.96  
Repairs to electrical equipment $ 35,987 0.53  
Repairs to service equipment $ 16,188 0.24  
Miscellaneous shop expenses $ 65,776 0.97  
Tires (reserve) $ 143,322 2.11  
Total $ 687,449 10.13 2.56
Depreciation $ 219,256 3.23 0.82
Gasoline $ 276,862 4.08 1.03
Conducting transportation        
Superintendence $ 59,820 0.88  
Conductors and drivers $ 670,817 9.88  
Misc. transportation expenses $ 46,660 0.54  
Lubricants $ 36,391 0.54  
Garage employees' expenses $ 103,662 1.53  
Station expenses $ 10,171 0.15  
Total $ 917,521 13.52 3.41
General and miscellaneous        
Officers' salaries and expenses $ 50,023 0.74  
Office salaries and expenses $ 40,356 0.59  
Miscellaneous expenses $ 44,961 0.66  
Injuries and damages $ 75,406 1.13  
Insurance $ 41,451 0.61  
Stationery and printing $ 10,884 0.16  
Storeroom expenses $ 20,947 0.31  
Law expenses $ 5,363 0.08  
Total $ 290,391 4.28 1.08
Total operating expenses $ 2,400,539 35.37 8.93
Total taxes $ 119,609 1.76 0.45
Income deductions $ 67,803 1.00 0.25
Total deductions $ 2,587,951 38.13 9.63
Passenger revenue        
1917 $ 307,776 30.46  
1918 $ 457,137 32.38  
1919 $ 606,037 40.91  
1920 $ 639,547 44.23  
1921 (Ten months) $ 677,484 48.42  
Total $ 2,687,961 39.60  
Net income $ 100,010 1.47  
Revenue bus-miles   6,786,900    
Revenue bus-hours   640,512    
Revenue per bus-hour $ 4.196    
Gallons of gasoline   1,269,580    
Average miles per gallon   5.31    
Average buses in service   35.00    

February 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Ten More Buses for Chicago

“At the annual meeting of the board of directors of the Chicago Motor Bus Company, it was decided to order ten more buses of the sixty-seat inclosed upper-deck type, described in the January issue of Bus Transportation, and equipped with the tractor type power plant and Knight motor. These buses will be built by the American Motor Bus Corporation, Chicago, which now also has under construction for the Chicago Motor Bus Company, a sixty-eight seat open-top bus with conventional rear axle drive. . With these eleven additional buses completed, the equipment of the bus company will include sixty-three buses. The ten recently ordered are expected to be completed in April.”

May 1922 Bus Transportation:

“New Bus Weighs 157 lb. per Seat

“IN PREPARATION for the possible extension of service to the South Side, where the clearances will not permit the use of the inclosed upper-deck type bus used on the North Side, the Chicago Motor Bus Company has recently placed in operation a sample bus of new design which sets up a new low record for vehicle weight per seat. This bus seats sixty-nine passengers— thirty on the lower deck and thirty-nine above—and weighs 10,850 lb., including 40 gal. of gasoline, or 157.25 lb. per seat. In addition to the large seating capacity and low weight, this new bus also differs from the buses previously in use by the company in that the conventional rear axle drive is employed instead of the tractor type. The bus is equipped with the same 35-hp. Knight motor manufactured by the R. & V. Motor Company, Moline, Ill., on which the company has practically standardized.

“The use of a specially designed rear axle with the worm mounted underneath made possible an unladen floor height of 29½ in. if 34-in. wheels are used. The rear platform, however, is but 18 in. above the pavement, unloaded, and 14½  in. with the bus fully loaded. The step from platform to bus floor is 11½  in. The stair steps leading to the upper deck are 9½  in. and the stair width is 21 in. The entrance to the lower deck is in the center of the rear end, instead of at the side, as on the former Chicago buses, and the stairway to the upper deck is of an open design rather than closed. The earlier buses with which comparison is made were fully described in January issue of Bus Transportation. The arrangement of seats on the lower deck is so laid out that a well is formed at the rear, in addition to the rear platform, providing standing room and aiding in the convenience of passenger interchange. The seats on the lower deck are rattan covered with spring cushions and spring backs. This is a new feature for Chicago buses, which adds substantially to the comfort of passengers. The aisle width on both upper and lower decks has also been increased and this also makes the new bus more convenient. The seats on the upper deck are of course of the slat type on account of their exposure to the weather.

The headroom is 71 in., which is 2 in. more than in the inclosed upper-deck buses. The interior lighting is provided with seven 15-cp. lamps on a 12-volt circuit, with one additional platform lamp, no fixtures being used.

“The roof is made of 3/8-in. tongue and groove pine with ¼-in. maple floor strips running longitudinally; the intermediate carlines used heretofore are omitted. In other respects the detail structural design is similar to that used in the inclosed upper-deck buses.

“With a 190-in. wheelbase, the body is mounted on a chassis frame made up of two 7-in., 9¾ -lb. channels for the side members and a 7-in. cross channel in front, an 8-in. cross channel at the rear and 6-in. intermediate cross channels with a double Z-shaped pressed cross member, located about 6 ft. back from the front end, to support the clutch and brake pedal brackets, gear shift, etc. Where the maximum bending moment takes place the side members are reinforced by 6-in. ¼-in. steel pressings with 3-in. flanges. These are riveted to the inside of the channels and extend from a point about 3 ft. from the front end to a point about 12 ft. from the front end. The side frames are offset 8 7/8-in. over the rear axle and 3 in. at the front end.

“One of the notable features of this bus is its excellent riding quality. As the bus is equipped with solid tires all around, this has been accomplished entirely in designing the springs. The rear springs are of the split or progressive type whereby good resiliency is obtained at light loads, with adequate spring capacity for heavy loads. These springs were furnished by the Mather Company, Toledo, Ohio, and are made of chrome vanadium steel. They are 60 in. long and 4 in. wide and the leaves are graduated from 7/16 in. to 5/16 in. in the top section and from ½ in. to 3/8 in. in the lower section. The top section contains thirteen leaves and the bottom three. The front springs are of the ordinary type, 46 in. long and 3 in. wide.

“For the progressive type rear spring the flexibility, as measured in pounds load per inch of deflection, is 900 under light loads, and this is graduated up to 1,100 lb. when loaded. The result is a riding quality that is causing much favorable comment.

“To return to the consideration of weight, the distribution of 6,500 lb. on the rear wheels and 4,350 on the front wheels. This is just under 60 per cent on the rear wheels. Calculating the distribution of the live load, seventy-one people averaging 140 lb. each would make the total live load 9,940 lb. of which 7,000 lb. would be added to the rear wheel load and 2,940 lb. to the front wheels. This brings the total load on the rear wheels up to 65 per cent.

“As shown in the article in the January issue of BUS TRANSPORTATION. The inclosed top vehicle has been a substantially better revenue producer that the open-top buses formerly used. Besides the inclosed top it has a seating capacity of sixty as compared to fifty-one for the open-top buses. With the necessity to use open-top buses on the South Side, it was considered that a larger seating capacity, permitting bigger loads on fair weather days, might offset the advantage of the inclosed-top bus in carrying more passengers on bad-weather days. From the experience of this bus in service on the North Side for the fifteen days from March 16 to March 31, in comparison with the first fifty-one-passenger open-top bus preceding and following the new bus, and with the first inclosed-top sixty passenger bus preceding and following the new bus, the reasoning as to earning power of the new bus seems to be justified. The excellent riding qualities of the bus are undoubtedly a factor in this showing also. The figures in the table below are given in the order in which the buses were scheduled.

“The average earnings per mile of the two fifty-one passenger open-top buses was 39.4 cents and of the two inclosed-top buses was 42.4 cents, which are compared with the 50.6 cents per mile earnings of the bus.

“This bus was designed by C.O. Ball, general manager and chief engineer, American Motor Bus Corporation, Chicago, which is affiliated with the Chicago Motor Bus Company.”

  open top closed top new bus open top closed top
Seating capacity  51 60 69 51 60
Trips 136 136 136 136 136
Bus Miles 2278.8 2264.6 2278.2 2319.9 2368.7
Revenue per mile, cents 40.6 41.5 50.6 38.1 43.2

Chicago Motor Coach – earliest buses (1917-1929)

bus number manufacturer year built style
101-152 CMC Shops / St. Louis Car 1917-19 double deck
153-175 American Motor Bus 1922 double deck

October 11, 1922 New York Times:

“QUITS COACH COMPANY HERE; J.A. Ritchie to Become Head of Chicago Motor Bus Lines.

“The resignation of John A. Ritchie as President of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company was announced yesterday. Mr. Ritchie will go to Chicago to become head of the recently organized Chicago Motor Bus Company. Associated with him in the reorganized company will be John Hertz, President of the Yellow Taxi Company of Chicago; Charles McCullough, a Chicago banker, and William Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum manufacturer.

“Mr. Ritchie has been President of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company since April, 1918. Before that he was operating statistician for the Interborough subway, elevated and surface lines, having been brought by the late Theodore P. Shonts, when President of the Interborough, from the Illinois Central Railroad.”

October 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Lake Shore Motor Bus Company Changes Hands.; Influential Chicagoans Take Financial Control—Will Extend Activities to Cover North, South and West Sides of City

“FINANCIAL control of the Lake Shore Motor Bus Company, the holding company for the Chicago Motor Bus Company and the American Motor Bus Company, the operating and manufacturing company respectively, has been secured by John D. Hertz, president of the Yellow Cab Company; Charles A. McCulloch, president of the Parmalee Transfer Company and also vice-president of the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company, and other influential and progressive Chicagoans. Among these are W. H. Wrigley, Jr., of chewing gum fame. John A. Ritchie, who has been president of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company of New York City since 1918, has been elected president, general manager and a director of the company. As Bus Transportation was being sent to press it was announced that Col. G. A. Green of the Fifth Avenue Company would also join the Chicago company. The present organization of the two underlying companies will be kept practically intact. Greatly increased service is to be given on the present routes and new lines are to be opened.

“With service over all of the routes contemplated 300 buses will be in operation. These, as a combination of the L type coach of the Fifth Avenue Company and the latest open-top double-deck model of the Chicago Motor Bus Company, are to be of an improved low-level design, worm driven, with chain-driven transmission. The engine will be a vastly improved Moline-Knight. The double-deck coaches are to seat sixty-eight. In addition to the double-deckers the company will also use between twenty-five and thirty one-man high-speed single-deck buses chiefly as feeders to the trunk lines.

“Present operating plans call for 70 miles of route on the south side, 40 miles on the west side and 30 on the north side. The main lines will run direct to the Loop district and the fare will be 10 cents. No transfers will be issued except from short line to long line buses.

"Hearings have already been started before the Public Service Commission on the application for permits to operate over the new routes mentioned above. The statement was made by officials that the newly organized company would spend $3,500,000 in perfecting its operations.”

October 1922 Bus Transportation:

“J. A. Ritchie Leaves Fifth Avenue Coach Company.; President of New York Concern, Famous for His Civility Campaign, Will Head Chicago Motor Bus Company

“JOHN A. RITCHIE, president since April, 1918, of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, New York, N. Y., and the man who first introduced 'Civility' into a public utility corporation and made it a popular byword, has resigned to become head of the recently reorganized Chicago Motor Bus Company. The departure of Mr. Ritchie for Chicago removes one of the outstanding figures in transportation developments of New York City.

“The Chicago company has been organized to conduct a bus transportation system on a scale larger than has ever been undertaken by a corporation in this country, and Mr. Ritchie, as president of the new company, will occupy an important position in the field of motor coach transportation.

“The Chicago Motor Bus Company will be the operating company. Its coaches will be manufactured by the American Motor Bus Company, a subsidiary, of which Mr. Ritchie also will be the head. The company possesses franchises to operate its coaches over more than 70 miles of Chicago streets at a 10-cent fare. Dispatches from Chicago state that the Chicago Motor Bus Company has been capitalized at $3,000,000 and that an equally large amount will be expended in manufacturing motor coaches of the general design of the Fifth Avenue company coach, but of an improved type and possessing greater seating capacity.

“Associated with Mr. Ritchie in the new company will be John Hertz, president of the Yellow Taxi Company of Chicago; Charles A. McCullough. Chicago banker; William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum man, and others.

“The present equipment of the Chicago Motor Bus Company will be utilized until the new coaches are ready to go into service. The building program calls for 300 coaches in a year.

“Civility, a new theme in business and social relations, was introduced into the Fifth Avenue Coach Company when Mr. Ritchie, a man in the early forties, became president of the company. Previous to that, Mr. Ritchie had been operating statistician of the subway, elevated railroad and surface car lines of New York City, under the presidency of the late Theodore P. Shonts. Mr. Shonts ‘found’ Mr. Ritchie back in 1908 when the latter was connected with the Illinois Central Railroad as investigator of accounts. Mr. Ritchie entered the transportation business in his youth.

“Mr. Ritchie assumed charge of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company at a time when every industrial enterprise in the country was beset by labor difficulties as a result of the European war. As president his first aim was to establish the most cordial relations with his employees, from the man on the coach up. The word ‘boss’ soon disappeared from the vocabulary of the Fifth Avenue Coach man. Mr. Ritchie adopted the policy of an open door to all, ever being ready to listen to the complaint or suggestion of the most humble.

"Mr. Ritchie's next move was to arouse in the public mind a wholesome respect for the courteous service of the men on the coaches and the degree of his success in this respect is best reflected by the reports for August, which show that there was but one complaint of incivility to every 996,310 passengers carried during the month. His most recent innovation in transportation was the substituting of name plates for numbers on the blouses of the coach men so the public might know with whom they were riding. This change evoked considerable favorable comment from the public.

“Corporations throughout the country and educational institutions of every variety joined with Mr. Ritchie in a universal appeal for a more general practice of every-day courtesy. The civility campaigns conducted under his personal supervision started a flood of public comment which resulted in the compilation and publication of a series of pamphlets on the subject which are considered as among the best ever issued by a public service corporation. Some of these pamphlets now are in the libraries of virtually every city in the country and the most recent of these, ‘A Harvest of Thoughts on Civility,’ created such demand that the edition was exhausted over night, and requests by mail became so numerous that filling them became a virtual impossibility.

“An extended biographical sketch of Mr. Ritchie was published in Bus Transportation for February, page 148. Further details of the reorganization of the Chicago Motor Bus Company will be found elsewhere in this issue. Just as Bus Transportation went to press it was announced that Col. G. A. Green, vice-president and general manager of the Fifth Avenue Company, would also join Mr. Ritchie in Chicago.”

November 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Chicago Company Stresses Direct Communication — Experts' Traffic Study Shows City's Greatest Increase on South Side”

“THE Chicago (Ill.) Motor Bus Company which was recently reorganized by financial interests with which are identified John Hertz, president of the Yellow Cab Company, and Charles A. McCulloch, president of the Parmelee Transfer Company, has presented its reason why it should be granted a certificate of convenience and necessity by the Illinois Commerce Commission in hearings which were held on Oct 10 and on Oct. 25, 26 and 27. The routes under consideration are those leading from the Loop district to the south side over the boulevard and passing through and adjacent to the parks in that district.

“The new company has already obtained a franchise to operate through the parks and boulevards under the jurisdiction of the South Park Board. The hearing will be concluded on Nov. 6 and it is expected that if the certificate is granted operation will begin from two to three weeks after that date.

“In seeking its certificate, the company introduced evidence by which it sought to show that the proposed bus service will provide direct accommodation along the boulevards and will provide more rapid, convenient and comfortable service to and from the loop district for certain residential districts not now conveniently served. Another contention was that it would afford an opportunity for pleasure riding to that part of the population which does not own motor cars, and it will particularly make available the advantages of the parks and boulevard system. The extent of pleasure riding was shown by figures of the north side lines of the Chicago Motor Bus Company and also from records of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. It was also demonstrated that operation of a route proposed would not be injurious to the traffic of the Chicago Surface Lines or the Chicago Elevated Railroad.

“To show the financial soundness of the new company, John D. Hertz, president of the Yellow Cab Company, pledged the bus line to an expenditure of $3,500,000 which is already available. He placed himself on record as a witness before the commission to this effect.

“As announced in Bus Transportation last month, John A. Ritchie and Col. George A. Green have resigned from the Fifth Avenue Coach Company to take active charge of the new Chicago Motor Bus Company, although it is understood that both Mr. Hertz and Mr. McCulloch will take a prominent part in the management of the concern. Mr. Ritchie, who has resigned as president of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, has been made president and general manager of the new company, while Colonel Green has left his position as engineering chief of that corporation to become vice-president and manager.

“Mr. Ritchie has testified before the commission that the general method of conduct of the company will be along the lines of that of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. In his testimony, Colonel Green, who has made a life study of bus transportation in this country and abroad, said that Chicago offers the greatest opportunity for a bus transportation system of any city that he knew. He said that he hoped to be able to give Chicago even better service than is operated in either New York or London. The plan, he explained, calls for two types of buses, one of the double-deck type carrying sixty-eight passengers and the other a single-decker carrying twenty-five passengers.

“Feasibility Of Bus Service Determined By Traffic Study

“To show the feasibility, convenience and necessity of bus operation on the proposed route, the Chicago Motor Bus Company engaged Ford, Bacon & Davis, Inc., consulting engineers, to make a detailed traffic and transportation study. The results of these studies were introduced as evidence of why the certificate should be granted. In this survey it was shown that in the decade 1910 to 1920 the population of the south side of Chicago increased at a greater rate than that of the city as a whole, the rate of increase being 27.3 per cent for the south side and 23.6 per cent for the city. Moreover, of the total population increase in that period, namely, about 560,000, more than 40 per cent was on the south side. The result of the traffic study was that although Michigan Avenue is congested at present, the introduction of bus service would possibly increase that congestion by 3 or 4 per cent while the boulevard would be made available to a very large number of people. The fact that bus service would be a prominent factor in the conversion of south Michigan Avenue into a high-class shopping district was brought up as a point to show why the certificate should be granted.”

November 1922 Bus Transportation:

“G. A. Green in Chicago.; Noted Automotive Engineer Resigns from Fifth Avenue Company to Assume Position of Vice-President and Manager of Chicago Motor Bus Company and American Motor Bus Manufacturing Company

“IF EVER a man was a step ahead of the events in the engineering industry of which he is a part, George A. Green, the new vice-president and manager of the Chicago Motor Bus Company and the American Motor Bus Manufacturing Company, is that man. In these companies Mr. Green will again be associated with John A. Ritchie, both Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Green having resigned from the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, New York, to go to Chicago.

“Necessarily there is a community of interest existing between the two men so long associated in one enterprise, but that alone could not have held them together in New York or induced Mr. Green to cast his fortunes and his future with Mr. Ritchie in Chicago. It was more than that. It was opportunity. Opportunity held them together in New York and opportunity for both of them has induced them to go to Chicago—opportunity for Mr. Ritchie to apply to Chicago on an even bigger scale than he did in New York ideas of management and personnel which have put the New York company in the forefront of transportation organizations the world over, and for Mr. Green opportunity to apply and extend ideas which he has about bus construction and maintenance.

“Originality And Initiative Are Predominant Characteristics

“Long before anybody else in this country had begun to formulate ideas as to what a bus should be George A. Green had worked out for himself a series of axioms that has since come to be generally accepted as necessary to insure the best operating results for large-scale bus systems. It was he undoubtedly who arrived first at definite conclusions regarding the necessity for light-weight buses; regarding the question of the low center of gravity of the bus, the proper gear ratios, the best widths for frames and springs and wheel tracks; the turning radius and the need for ease in steering. He reduced to a science the matter of analyzing and recording breakages and equipment failures. He also was quick to realize that centralized unit repairs were essential for economy. His ideal of the true bus is to give Pullman car service under unified control at a 10 cent fare.

“Mr. Green thinks in large units. Having done so much to perfect the bus mechanically, Mr. Green has shown that greater mechanical perfection must be accompanied by operation which has behind it the idea of securing greater gasoline efficiency. He has said the latter, where the human element enters, is even more difficult to attain than mechanical perfection. The best thoughts of Mr. Green along these and kindred lines were packed by him into a paper which he read before the Society of Automotive Engineers more than two years ago. It is pronounced by men in the automotive industry to be a classic. In addition to all this is the work done by Mr. Green in collaboration with Ricardo, the noted English automotive engineer. The results of this work were embodied in a paper also presented before the Society of Automotive Engineers.

“Proved His Problems Before He Talked About Them

“Mr. Green has, however, looked beyond the mechanics of the matter. He is what might be termed the engineer plus. His work toward perfecting the bus mechanically has not so engrossed him that he has not seen the bus problem in its larger province as a transportation agency. Mr. Green has pronounced views about fares, personnel and other matters that the outsider might think were beyond his personal field. These he has likewise embodied in papers presented before engineering and transportation bodies, where they have been put to the acid test by transportation men sometimes none too friendly to the bus as a transportation agent. In other words, George A. Green's conclusions ring true because as a scientist he proves things before he talks about them.

“Mr. Green a Trained Engineer

“As a foundation of all the work that he has done Mr. Green has back of him a thorough training in engineering coupled with an apprenticeship in the shop and in the field that it is within the grasp of very few men to attain. Thus is an idea conveyed of the fund of information and knowledge which Mr. Green will be able to apply to the problems that come up in Chicago, first, in actual operation of the vehicles on the street and then in the manufacturing activities of the American Motor Bus Manufacturing Company. Other aspects of the remarkable career of the man were reviewed in Bus Transportation last February.”

November 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Chicago (Ill.) Motor Bus Company has purchased nine ‘L’ type coaches and one ‘J’ type coach from the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, New York City. J. J. Gerlach, Pittsburgh, Pa., has purchased one ‘L’ type coach from the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. New York City. This is the second ‘L’ type purchased by him.”

November 16, 1922 New York Times:

“FRIEND TRIED TO GET HYLAN BUS PERMIT; Head of Black Diamond Auto Concern Tells of Seeking to Interest the Mayor. ACTED FOR ANOTHER FIRM Denies Discussing Financing the Enterprise With the City's Executive. STICKS TO TESTIMONY Recalled at Hearing That Hylan Was Once Counsel for Black Diamond Company.

“Charles S. Turner, former Vice President and General Manager of the Black Diamond Automobile Company, of which Mayor Hylan was counsel, testified yesterday before the Transit Commission that he had been in conference with Mayor Hylan at City Hall following his examination before the Transit Commission….”

Roland R. Conklin was the person interested in getting the bus permit, and he gave the following testimony detailing the organization of his various bus operations:

“Mr. Conklin, the first witness at the session, said he lived in Huntington, L.I., that the New York Motor Bus Company, of which he was President, was incorporated in 1921; that the amount of stock issued was $16,000, and that the amount authorized was $500,000; that he had operated bus lines in Chicago and Havana, Cuba, and that he organized the American Motor Bus Corporation, a bus manufacturing concern, with $200,000 capital stock.”

December 1922 Bus Transportation:

“Plant Capacity Being Increased

“Reports from Chicago state that the capacity of the cab factory of the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company is being increased 50 per cent, while the general plant is being increased another 50 per cent- in preparation for the manufacture of buses by the American Motor Bus Manufacturing Company for the new Chicago Motor Bus Company.”

The July, 1924 issue of The Motorman and Conductor contained an article from the July 16, New York Times:

“Chicago - July 15 – Plans embracing the extension of motor coach operation to urban and rural communities in every part of the United States are being made by the Omnibus Corporation of America, according to a statement made today by John Hertz, chairman of the board of directors. The corporation is a consolidation of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company of New York and the Chicago Motor Coach company.

“Mr. Hertz said that it was not the purpose of the corporation to enter into competition with street car companies or railroads, but to work with them for the rehabilitation of street car companies or parts of railroads in sections were the service was now inadequate.”

An unrelated firm, American Motor Coach Co. was organized in 1925 to produce medium-sized buses on extended Ford Model TT chassis. A 1925 issue of Better Buses announced the firm's incorporation:

"New Incorporations: Wilmington, De — American Motor Coach Co. Capital $100,000."

A concurrent issue of Bus Transportation revealed a few more details of the new firm:

“The American Motor Coach Company, Inc., 9 East 40th St, New York City, has been formed to produce complete buses, mounting bodies on an extended Ford chassis. T.L. Hauseman is president, C.B. Jennison vice president and Arthur Kooman secretary and treasurer of the new company. Temporarily, the product will be made up by the Bethlehem Motors Corporation ….

"The buses are to be mounted on extended 1-ton Ford Model TT chassis. The 12-16 passenger coaches include seats upholstered in dark brown imitation leather."

The American Motor Coach Company was short-lived although Bethlehem Motors remained involved in the truck body business for a few more years. (Clarence Edwards was the chief draftsman of the Bethlehem Motors Corporation, Allentown, Pa. & Pottstown, Pa. In 1927 Bethlehem was taken over by the Hahn Motor Truck Co., and the new firm was reorganized as the Hahn Motor Truck Corporation, Allentown, Pa.

January 3, 1938 New York Times:

"R. R. CONKLIN DIES; RETIRED FINANCIER; Began Career in Real Estate in Kansas City-Also Had Been Active in Cuba HEADED UTILITY GROUPS Former Executive of the North American Trust Co. - Was a Motor Bus Advocate.; Was Active in Cuba Had 'Motor Land Yacht'

“Roland Ray Conklin, retired capitalist and promoter, died yesterday in the Lenox Hill Hospital of pneumonia at the age of 79. Since 1922 he had not been active in business. In 1924 he sold his large estate, Rosemary Farm, at Huntington, L. I. Recently he had been living at 82 Washington Place.

“Born at Urbana, Ill., Mr. Conklin was a descendant of the English-Scotch John Conklin who settled on the north shore of Long Island in 1640. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were born at Huntington, L.I.

“Working his way through college, Mr. Conklin was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1880 and two years later was at the head of one of the largest realty firms in Kansas City, Kan. His interests spread widely in the West, including irrigation canals, water works and electric street railways, and in 1893 he moved the headquarters of his firm to New York, in time to be forced into liquidation by the panic of that year.

“Reorganizing as the North American Trust Company, Mr. Conklin engaged in a general banking business and in 1898 the company was appointed fiscal agent for the United States Government in Cuba. Mr. Conklin was vice president of the North American, 1896-99.

“Was Active in Cuba

“With the year 1900 Mr. Conklin began a series of undertakings tending to the development of Cuba. He was one of the principal organizers of the National Bank of Cuba and the Havana Telephone Company, a founder and president of the Cuban Telephone Company, vice president of the Central Cuba Sugar Company, president of the Jucaro & Motor Railway Company, and an organizer of the National Railways Company of Cuba.

“Later he established himself in New York and bought the estate at Huntington, L.I., which is now occupied by the Roman Catholic Seminary of the Immaculate Conception. For two years he was president of the Huntington Association, representing the interests of property owners in Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor.

“Mr. Conklin was founder and developer of Roland Park in Baltimore and of Euclid Park in Cleveland, an organizer and former president of the Chicago Motorbus Company. He was a great believer in the motorbus as destined to replace trolleys in city streets and as a means of transportation across country. Before trailers were thought of he had trailer ideas.

“Had Motor Land Yacht.

“In the Summer of 1915 he and his wife, the former Mary Macfadden, a sister of Bernarr Macfadden, and six others, set out from Huntington for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in a conveyance of their own design variously described by observers as a ‘Gypsy Van,’ a ‘kitchenette flat on wheels,’ and a ‘motor land yacht.’

“The pictures of the vehicle suggest a Fifth Avenue bus of the next to last model with a roof garden on top. But the homelike equipment of the bus equaled all but the most luxurious of today’s trailers.

“Among the clubs to which Mr. Conklin had belonged were the Lotos, Coffee House and Huntington Country. Mrs. Conklin died in 1919. Three children survive; Julia and Rosemary Conklin of this city and Roland H. Conklin of Los Angeles.

“Services will be held at 2 P.M. tomorrow in Christ Church, Sixtieth and Park Ave.”

© 2004 Mark Theobald -


American Motor Bus Story Part 1 | 2 | 3




For more information please read:

Jay Henry Mowbray - Representative Men of New York; A Record of Their Achievements Vol III. Pub, 1898:

The National Cyclopaedia of American biography, Volume 12, pub 1904

B.C. Forbes & O.D. Foster - Automotive Giants of America: Men Who Are Making Our Motor Industry , B.C. Forbes Publishing Co., 120 Fifth Ave. NY, published 1926 by the Plimpton Press, Norwood, Mass.

Chicago Motor Bus Co. vs. Chicago Stage Co. - The Northeastern Reporter, Volume 122, pub 1920

Christopher George Sinsbaugh - Who, me?: Forty years of automobile history, Arnold-Powers, Inc., pub 1940

June Skinner Sawyers - Chicago Portraits: biographies of 250 famous Chicagoans - Pub 1991

Gorman Gilbert and Robert E. Samuels - The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor, pub 1982

Josiah Seymour Currey - Chicago: Its History and Its Builders, a Century of Marvelous Growth, Volume IV, pub 1912

Alfred Theodore Andreas – History of Chicago, From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, in Three Volumes, Volume III — From the Fire of 1871 Until 1885. pub. 1886

Automobile Quarterly v. 30, no. 2

Alan A. Block - East Side, West Side: Organizing Crime in New York, 1930-1950, pub 1983

Yellow Truck & Coach – Fortune, Vol. XIV No. 1, July 1936 issue

Bradford C. Snell, American Ground Transport: A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus and Rail Industries. Report presented to the Committee of the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, United States Senate, February 26, 1974, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1974

Cliff Slater, "General Motors and the Demise of Streetcars," Transportation Quarterly, Vol. 51. No. 3 Summer 1997

Glenn Yago - The Decline of Transit: Urban Transportation in German and U.S. Cities, 1900 -1970 pub 1984

John Melancthon Hickerson - Ernie Breech: the story of his remarkable career at General Motors, Ford and TWA pub 1968

John Cunningham Wood, Michael C. Wood  - Alfred P. Sloan: critical evaluations in business and management

Jim Klein and Martha Olson - Taken for a Ride - 55-minute documentary originally aired August 6, 1996 on Point of View, a PBS documentary series. 

Andrew D. Young, Eugene F. Provenzo - The history of the St. Louis Car Company, "Quality Shops"‎

Golden Opportunity - Chicago Tribune Magazine, Nov. 25, 2007 issue

R.A. Christ - GMC Truck History 1900-1950

Arthur Pound - The Turning Wheel pub 1934

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923-1943 Photo Archive, pub 2001

Ben Merkel & Chris Monier - The American Taxi: A Century of Service pub 2006

Douglas Gomery - Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States pub 1992

Victor W. Page - The Modern Motor Truck: Design, Construction, Operation, Repair, Commercial Applications, pub 1921

James J. Fitzgerald - Burnham's manual of Chicago securities, pub 1917, John Burnham & Company

Twelfth annual report of the State Board of Arbitration of Illinois, pub. 1910, by Illinois State Journal Co.

Harry W. Perry - A New Relief To City Traffic: The Success of Motor Cabs and Buses in London and Paris - The World's Work, Volume 14, pub. 1907.

Harry Wilkin Perry - Taximeter Cab Service In New York – Motor Traction, May 2, 1908 issue.

Sleeve Valve Coaches, TaxiCabs and Trucks (3-part series) Issue #s 103, 104, 105 (1st, 2nd & 3rd quarters 1988) The Starter, Quarterly Journal of the Willys-Overland Knight Register

Chicago's Early Buses – Motor Coach Age, December 1973 issue

Chicago Motor Coach Co. - Yellow Z-67, Motor Coach Age, August 1975 issue

Chicago Motor Coach Co. - Early Buses, Motor Coach Age, December 1973 issue

Chicago Motor Coach Co. The Boulevard Route, Motor Coach Age, March 1972 issue

Fifth Avenue Coach Corp. - Motor Coach Age, July 1971 issue

Comprehensive Omnibus Corp. - Motor Coach Today, January 2004 issue

Carlton Jackson - Hounds of the road: a history of the Greyhound Bus Company‎ - Pub 1984

History of Greyhound Pts. 1-3 - Motor Coach Age, March, May & June 1954 issues

Yellow Coach Part 1 - Origins; General & Corporate History, Motor Coach Age Jul 1989

Yellow Coach Part 2 - Conventional Buses 1932 to 1937, Motor Coach Age Sep 1990

Yellow Coach Part 3 - Integral Buses 1931 to 1942, Motor Coach Age Jul 1991

Yellow Coach Part 4 - Monocoque Transits 1940 to 1959, Motor Coach Age Jul 1992

Yellow Coach Part 5 - Monocoque Parlors 1939 to 1980, Motor Coach Age Jul 1993

Andrew Morrison - The City of Denver and State of Colorado, pub 1890

Roger B. White - At Home On the Highway, American Heritage, Vol. 37 No.1, Dec. 1985 issue.

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

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